Twin Sleep? What? How? When? Getting one baby to sleep is hard enough, right?
So let’s start with some good news. Twins are actually some of the best sleepers, they are often adaptable and resilient, they’ve had to be! They’ve learnt to sleep in shared, cramped spaces with lots of noise. The not so good news….well you already know that you will have a lot going to, double the feeds, swaddles, pacifiers, diapers…you get the picture. So here are 6 tips to get your twins sleeping well from the start.
- Feed Together
For the first few months when your babies are young and eating frequently throughout the night, you need to feed them straight after each other. I.e. if baby A wakes up, then feed him and put him back to sleep. Then right afterwards feed baby B and put him back to sleep.
Once you start trying to extend the length of your babies’ sleep, then only feed the baby that wakes up and allow your other baby to sleep until he’s naturally hungry. You can also dream feed both your babies before you go to sleep, making sure you get as much sleep as possible, which is probably only a max of 3-4 hours at this stage.
Keep your twins on the same daytime schedule . This means you need to wake babies up within 15 minutes of each other. If Baby A wakes at 7:00am, then wake Baby B by 7:15am. Use the same approach after naps, even if they are just 30 or 45 minutes long. If Baby A takes a 30 minute catnap, you should wake Baby B at the 45 minute mark. Kim West, aka the Sleep Lady often recommends keeping twins in the same room at night time, but separating them for naps, because daytime sleep is so much more of a challenge for most babies.
- Identify the Sensitive Sleeper or Alert Child
Almost always, one of your babies will be a little more fussy and resist sleep more than their twin. Identify which baby that is and use her schedule as your ballpoint. For example 5 month olds have a wake window of about 1.5 hours, so let’s say Baby A woke up at 9:00am and Baby B (the sensitive sleeper or more alert baby) woke up at 9:15am then put your twins back to sleep at 10:45, in other words 1.5 hours from the time the alert baby woke up.
- Adjusted Age
Twins are often born early so remember to use their adjusted age when scheduling and sleep coaching. A 20 week old baby born 1 month early is usually considered 16 weeks old developmentally and may not be ready for sleep coaching. You want to sleep coach your twins when they are ready developmentally so that you have a positive and successful experience.
- White Noise
Use white noise or even double the amount of white noise to block out sound especially sound from each other, as you know twins or not, babies are often lighter sleepers.
- All the other rules of singleton babies apply
Keep to swaddling, dark room for sleeping, exposure to light, feeding upon awake, putting baby down drowsy but awake where possible and early bedtimes. Remember all sleep shaping rules for singleton babies apply.